His name was Roosevelt Franklin and he was the coolest kid on Sesame Street. Growing up I worshiped this puppet. He was the ultimate bad boy and he was made out of felt.
I loved Sesame Street as a child, in fact I still do. I think it was the combination of bizarre humor and good natured puppets that attracted me to it then and still does.
This isn’t to say that the show is the same as it was then. Thing have certainly changed, with newer characters like Elmo and Zoe taking center stage along with old favorites like Oscar and Big Bird. And, for every new character that enters, it seems, another character leaves.
Some, leave with good reason. Take Sam the Robot, for example. No one really liked him and (I hear) he was cumbersome and difficult to perform.
Growing up, one of my favorite sketches revolved around a muppet named Don Music. Don would play the piano, but when he forgot the lyrics to the song, he would slam his head against the piano keys.
Don was eliminated when producers worried that kids would follow in his footsteps. Not by playing piano, but by banging their heads against the piano.
I know I did. I would bang my head so hard against the piano that I still have both ebony and ivory marks on my forehead. I also have the words ‘ebony’ and ‘ivory’ tattooed on my right and left ankles. But that is due more to my fanatical obsession with Stevie Wonder.
Roosevelt Franklin, too, did not last on Sesame Street.
You may remember Roosevelt. He was purple and had spiky hair and no nose. This meant he couldn’t wear sunglasses, but no matter, he was so cool he didn’t need shades.
Roosevelt’s skits took place in the classroom. Roosevelt would throw paper airplanes, make sarcastic comments and generally be a nuisance to the teacher.
And he often spoke in rhyme.
Here is one of his poetic verses:
Same Sound Brown was a rhymin' man
He could rhyme words faster than I bet you can
See if you said "moose,"
Brown would say "juice."
If you say ‘Moose juice,’:
He’d say ‘Loose Goose.
If you said ‘Juicy Loose Goose,’
Brown would say "Moosey Goose Juice.
Mmmmm. That made me hungry.
Roosevelt even put out a record called “My Name Is Roosevelt Franklin.” It featured such tracks as ‘Mobity Mosely’s Months’ and ‘Days of the Week” where Roosevelt tells us what he does on each day of the week.
In case you are interested he ‘eats eggs’ and ‘puts socks on his legs.’
According to Sesame Unpaved, a book about the history of the show, Roosevelt was abandoned because some felt he was a negative black American stereotype despite the fact that he was purple.
Also, they said that his behavior in the classroom segments set a bad example to the viewers.
Too bad, because there is a definite lack of Moosey Goose Juice on TV today.